Injured People

I had a WorkCover Claim, How Am I Affected By the New Laws?

Amber Sprague writes about the impact of South Australia’s new workers compensation scheme on workers injured prior to 1 July 2015.

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Amber Sprague writes about the impact of South Australia’s new workers compensation scheme on workers injured prior to 1 July 2015.  


Need workers compensation advice? To arrange a free initial interview call (08) 8212 1077 or register online here.

The South Australian Government, with the support of the opposition, has now enacted legislation to introduce a whole new system of workers compensation in SA.  The new law (known as the Return to Work Act) took effect on 1 July 2015, and the WorkCover scheme no longer exists.

The short answer to the question is YES, if you have a current workers compensation claim, you will be impacted by the new laws.

There are major changes to a worker’s entitlement to weekly payments (which will stop after two years – from 1 July 2017), unless you are assessed to be a ‘seriously injured worker’, meaning you have a whole person impairment of 30% (physical or psychological only, not combined).

Your entitlement to ongoing reasonable medical treatment for your injuries will also be restricted, and likely cease from 1 July 2018, although it may be before that.  However, if you are aware of a need for treatment into the future, you may be able to seek prior approval for that.

Your entitlement to lump sum compensation if you have a permanent physical impairment is not likely to be reduced and will be assessed as the law previously stood, however, you do not have access to the new and increased level of compensation payable under the new laws.  There is still no compensation payable for permanent psychological impairment, so those workers remain disadvantaged.

There has also been a change to the dispute resolution process, now managed by the South Australian Employment Tribunal, with the Workers Compensation Tribunal being wound-up.

These are but a few of the changes that will eventuate from a new workers compensation/return to work system in SA. It is highly recommended that you seek advice on your own specific circumstances to ensure you know how the new system will effect you.

Amber Sprague is a Partner at South Australia’s largest personal injury law firm, Tindall Gask Bentley. To arrange a free initial interview about your claim, contact Amber at TGB’s Adelaide office or register online here.